29 May, 2009

Did you know about... Zucchini?


Sedanini with Zucchini and Robiola Cheese

Spring and bright coloured vegetables are such an inspiration for me. And as I start putting away the heavy clothes, I start doing the same thing with my cooking. I start cooking lighter - not that I count calories, but simply things that make me feel less heavy and that I can digest more quickly.
In this sense, living in Italy and cooking Italian style is a great advantage.
A few words about zucchini: it's an easily digestible vegetable and therefore everyone can eat them - kids, elderly people, if you're recovering from an illness or if you have stomach problems. Boiled zucchini have highly detoxifying properties. They are an excellent source of Potassium, Lutein and Zeaxanthin (wondering who these guys are? Good guys that reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), as well as the risk of cataract development. They can also be found in eggs, spinach and other green vegetables. Foods considered good sources of these nutrients also include kale, turnip greens, collard greens, romaine lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, corn, garden peas, swiss chard and Brussels sprouts).

Need more to convince you? They also contain Vitamins C and E and Folic Acid. The reason why they should be cooked shortly.
Don't forget to grab some zucchini on your next trip to the grocery store.
Or even better, plant some in your garden or in a pot on your balcony.

Sedanini with Zucchini and Robiola Cheese

For this recipe I also used Robiola. It's a fresh, soft, creamy Italian cheese, without rind. I don't know if you can find it where you live but it's worth looking for it. Here are two sources where you can read more about it: Wikipedia and Robiola di Roccaverano. It's the only Italian D.O.P. cheese made with all three kinds of milk - cow, goat and sheep. Usually all three are combined, with percantage of cow milk being about 85% in industrially produced one. But should be actually made with 50% minimum of goat milk, and the other 50% either cow or sheep (in D.O.P. cheese). Farmers sometimes make it with 100% goat milk as well.

In this quick and delicious pasta dish I combined both zucchini and Robiola, and I liked it very much. Hope you'll enjoy it as well.

Sedanini with Zucchini and Robiola Cheese

Ingredients: (for 2)
* 200 g pasta (e.g. sedanini or pennette)
* 2-4 zucchini (depends how big they are)
* 2 cloves of garlic
* 100 g Robiola
* Extra virgin olive oil
* 4 tblspoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano + more for serving
* a few fresh basil or parsley leaves



Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and salt.
At the same time, put oil and garlic cloves, slightly crashed, in a skillet and start warming up. Don't let it burn or it will give bitter taste to the pasta. I usually remove it from the skillet once I start feeling garlic smell develop.
Add zucchini cut into tiny sticks and cook them stirring continuously.

It should take you just enough time for the pasta to be cooked. Cooking time for sedanini is 8 minutes, I drained them after 6 minutes, saving some water for later.
Mix the pasta with zucchini, add robiola and Parmigiano, stir for both cheeses to start melting and become creamy.
Start adding a few tablespoons of water at a time, stirring always until pasta is al dente. Add chopped basil. That's it. Serve with more grated Parmigiano if you like, or even better, with some soft pecorino.




Sedanini with Zucchini and Robiola Cheese



Sedanini s tikvicama i sirom

(za 2 osobe)
* 200 g tjestenine (npr. sedanini ili pennette)
* 2-4 manje zelene tikvice
* 2 češnja češnjaka
* 100 g sira Robiole (možete ga zamijeniti krem sirom, poput Philadelphie)
* maslinovo ulje
* 4 žlice naribanog parmezana
* nekoliko listića bosiljka


Stavite veliki lonac vode na vatru, kad provrije dodajte tjesteninu i sol.
Za sedanine vrijeme kuhanja je 8 minuta, ako koristite neku drugu tjesteninu, provjerite na omotu. Ocijedite tjesteninu 2 minute prije nego je kuhana i sačuvajte oko 2 dcl vode.
Čim ste stavili kuhati tjesteninu, zagrijte 2 žlice maslinovog ulja s dva češnja češnjaka. Kad osjetite da je češnjak zamirisao, izvadite ga i dodajte tikvice narezane na štapiće, i miješajući kuhajte dok ne bude gotova tjestenina, pazeći da tikvice ne izgore.
Ocijedite tjesteninu i dodajte u tavu s tikvicama. Dodajte i krem sir (Robiolu) i naribani parmezan (oko 4 žlice, ili po želji), miješajte na niskoj temperaturi da se sirevi otope, a onda dodajite malo po malo vruće vode koju ste sačuvali, dok tjestenina ne bude kuhana i ne stvori se lagani kremasti umak. Ne treba se presušiti.
Poslužite s još naribanog parmezana i narezanim ili nakidanim listićima bosiljka.
Dobar tek!



Sedanini with Zucchini and Robiola Cheese

Sedanini con zucchine e robiola

(per 2)
* 200g di pasta (sedanini, pennette o simile)
* 2-4 zucchine
* 100 g di Robiola
* 2 cucchiai di olio extra vergine
* 4 cucchiai di Parmigiano grattugiato
* 2 spicchi di aglio
* qualche foglia di basilico


Lessate la pasta in abbondante acqua salata e scolatela quando mancano ancora 2-3 minuti alla fine della cottura.
Nel frattempo, rosolate l'aglio in una padella con olio. Togliete l'aglio e aggiungete le zucchine tagliate a "fiammiferi" e saltatele per qualche minuto mescolando (giusto il tempo di cuocere la pasta). Scolate la pasta, conservando un po' di acqua di cottura, e aggiungetela alle zucchine. Aggiungete i formaggi (Robiola e Parmigiano), mescolate finché non si sia creata una crema. Cominciate ad aggiungere l'acqua calda che avete messo da parte e mescolando continuate a cuocere finché non si sia mantecato tutto.
Servite con Parmigiano o pecorino grattugiati e le foglie di basilico tritate.
Buon appetito!

11 comments:

  1. My favorite pasta dishes are simple and delicious (just like this one!) My tummy is rumbling :P

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  2. I adore zucchini now - wouldn't touch it as a kid though. Your pasta dish looks perfect.

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  3. What an informative post! I didn't know that zucchini had all that good stuff! I knew they were good bc they are a green veggie and I eat it bc I love it!

    Never heard of that cheese before. What does D.O.P stand for? Looks yummy!

    We call that pasta ziti or mostaciolli I believe. I'm really strange but I prefer my pasta with lines! So does my bf but my brother, WILL NOT eat pasta with lines. Isn't that crazy!

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  4. Thanks, everyone.
    Michele, D.O.P is an acronym for food of protected origin (you can read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protected_designation_of_origin)
    As far as I know, ziti are long tubular pasta, and I only know mostacioli as kind of honey cookies made in Campania around Christmass time, especially.
    By pasta with lines, you mean pasta "rigata", right? I also prefer it to pasta "liscia" - without lines (sedanini are "rigati" while ziti aren't)

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  5. You are finally back! The zucchini you have there have the paler skin than those I found here in Germany. I just bought 1 kg yesterday and stir-fried with garlic and tomatoes.

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  6. Hi Angie,
    I'm back, tired from a long travel, but at least I didn't have to work.
    Here in Italy you can find both types of zucchini, pale and dark green, but I prefer the pale ones, because they have thiner and softer skin, and a more delicate flavour

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  7. I MUST find that cheese, for I shall be swimming in zucchini in a very short amount of time.. :)

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  8. How delectable! I would love to try that special cheese!

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  9. Buonissima. Grazie della visita. Ciao

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  10. This looks so delicious, it must be so tasty with the cheese you described.

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